Earlier this month the FCC convened the final of six public hearings to air out concerns about this proposed rule change. I have watched, listened to or attended all of these hearings and one thing is clear. The public is single-mindedly opposed to more media consolidation.
Martin himself admitted recently that he remembers "only one" public witness calling for relaxation of media ownership rules at these hearings.
This public opposition is not just evident in the passion of the thousands of people who came to the FCC hearings in Seattle, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tampa, Harrisburg and Chicago. It's a fact reflected in the public record.
The last time the FCC tried to change the rules in 2003, millions of people contacted Congress and the FCC to oppose the changes, which were ultimately thrown out by the courts. My organization, Free Press, checked the filings and found that more than 99 percent of the public comments received by the FCC opposed changing the rules.
None of this has halted Martin's headlong rush to let loose a new wave of consolidation by the end of the year.